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February 14, 1996 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-14

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12- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 14, 1996

Continued from Page 11.
black artists' hits of days eternal to
form a two-CD miracle of 36 songs is
no-.easy task. But what BET has pro-
duced is but a hair shy ofperfect. Granted
there are a few points of concern. The
Temptations and Gladys Knight and
the Pips aren't featured, but I'll forgive
them this. What I won't forgive is some
of the weak stuff on here. How could
you put Jermaine Jackson's dopey
"Let's Get Serious" beside Stevie
Wonder's "Master Blaster"? How could
you put Aaliyah's non-singing butt
("Back and Forth") on the same CD that
balladeer extraordinaire, . Luther
Vandross ("Here and Now"), graces?
Such lapses injudgment would be inex-
cusable if most of the rest of this album
weren't as great as it is.
If some, or even most, of these song
titles don'tjogyourmemory, don't worry.
Once you start hearing those beats that
only the old school could make, trust me,
you'll remember. I'm coming out of my
box like this: It's only February, and I
don't see another oldies CD coming out
for the rest of 1996 that will be able to
touch this one. "BET's 15th Anniversary
Music Celebration" is that hot.
- Eugene Bowen
Various Artists
Saturday Morning Cartoons'
Greatest Hits
'While the concept ofalternative rock-
ers rerecording classic cartoon theme
stings sounds like some type of cheesy
disaster, the wild and crazy tracks on
"Saturday MorningCartoons' Greatest
Hits" turned out to be the best tribute or
cover album in the past few years.
The 19-track album has a song for
just about everyone. Whether you're a
fart of the band or the theme song they
cover, "Saturday Morning" is a trip
back to the old days when Saturday
mornings meant findingyourselfin front

'Spider Woman' kisses the heart
Basement Arts produces moving romance

Bearing our perenial favorite pair of kneecaps, here is the lovely Ms. Phair.

By Mitchell Katz
For the Daily
Manuel Puig's 1976 novel "Kiss of
the Spider Woman," which inspired the
1985 film starring Raul Julia and Will-
iam Hurt, as well as the recent Broad-
way musical extravaganza by John
Kander and Fred Ebb, was presented in
theater-in-the-round form last week-
end in the Frieze Building's Arena The-
It is the intimate story of two men of
completely opposite sensibilities who
teach each other about self-respect and
self-sacrifice while incarcerated to-
gether in a Latin American prison. Be-
sides a warden, whose voice is only
heard offstage, the two men are the sole
characters in the play.
Molina (T. Adam Hess) is a homo-
sexual window dresser who has been
imprisoned for molesting a minor. A
seemingly frivolous man, he flees his
grim reality by escaping into camp
movies. His cellmate, a political pris-
oner named Valentin (Alexander
Alioto), is a man of action who dreams
about getting information out to his
guerrilla comrades. It would appear that
Valentin's revolutionary ideals would
conflict with everything his cellmate
initially represents.
As opposite as these two men seem,
a curious friendship begins to grow
between them, and this production es-
tablishes their increasing affections for
each other with grace. Molina shares
his food with Valentin and nurses him
when he is sick, tenderly cleaning up

Kisof the
Spider Woman
Arena Theater
Feb. 9, 1996
his cellmate after Valentin involuntary
To try to comfort Valentin and to
help him forget his pain and misery,
Molina tells him the stories of his favor-
ite old movies. Throughout the entire
play, scenes of powerful dialogue be-
tween the two men are interspersed
with these campy recountings of
Molina's fondly embroidered Holly-
wood movies. For the flamboyant
Molina, stuck in this grim, shadowed
cell, these films are his imaginary es-
cape from his present despair. How-
ever, as the play progresses, Molina
begins to recite these movie plots more
for Valentin's benefit than for his own.
Toward the end of the play, Molina's
dream of being with a heterosexual man
is fulfilled when Valentin has sex with
him. In amovingelosing scene Valentin
even grants Molina his request for a
kiss. Valentin succumbs partly out of
benevolence and partially out of a need
for the warmth and uncritical generos-
ity that Molina floods him with.
As Molina, T. Adam Hess first en-
tered in a kimono and red scarf. He
proceeded to disarm the audience with

of the television, and not lying next to
the toilet on the bathroom floor.
Liz Phair and Material Issue kick off
the album with their rendition of"The Tra
La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)"
from "The Banana Splits." Juliana
Hatfield and Tanya Donelly's roaring
rendition of "Josie and the Pussycats" is
also one of the albums best, staying very
true to the original. Mary Lou Lord and
Semisonic's "Sugar Sugar" from "The
Archie Show" is another great track.
Matthew Sweet's "Scooby-Doo,
Where Are You?" is a classic, as is
Dig's "Fat Albert Theme." The Violent
Femmes' "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means
I Love You)" from "The Jetsons" kicks
butt, as does Sublime's "Hong Kong
Some more unusual pairings include
the Ramones' "Spider-Man," Rever-
end Horton Heat's "Jonny Quest / Stop
That Pigeon," from "Dastardly And
Muttley In Their Flying Machines,"
Helmet's "Gigantor," and the "Under-
dog" theme by the Butthole Surfers.
Sponge's "Go Speed RacerGo," lacks
the luster of the majority of the album.
Collective Soul's"The Bugaloos" is what
you'd expect from Collective Soul, and
Face to Face's "I'm Popeye the Sailor
Man" is disappointing. Othersby Frente!,
Tripping Daisy, Toadies and The Mur-
murs are decent, but get lost among the
other superb tracks.
Wax's rendition of Ren and Stimpy's
"Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" wraps up
"Saturday Morning" with a wacky ver-
sion of the album's most recent theme
song. The songs are pretty good, but "R
& S" enthusiasts may think the cartoon
version is superior. Nevertheless, the
album succeeds in a fun-filled trip down

memory lane that makes you wish all
these great cartoons were still on TV
and not just in our quickly aging minds.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Possum Dixon
Star Maps
Interscope / Surf Detective Records
No, "Go West," the lead song on
"Star Maps," isn't another tongue-in-
cheek rehash of the old Village People
tune. It's a moody, rocking ditty that
seems to be about lead singer (and
songwriter) Rob Zabrecky describing
people that he sees coming out of the
bathroom at a dance club.
Unfortunately, nothing is what it
seems in Possum Dixon's universe. The
Los Angeles four piece goes beyond
the "new wave of new wave" label,
incorporating the keyboards and clean
guitar sounds of '80s pop with a '90s
slacker sensibility. The result is what
new wave legend Nick Lowe would
call "pure pop for now people."
With "Star Maps," Possum Dixon fur-
thers the notion that keyboards aren't just
for wimps. The 12 songs are filled with so
many delicious pop hooks that it's hard
not to listen without licking your lips.
Offsetting the catchy music are Zabrecky's
cryptic lyrics, the kind of lyrics that keep
you guessing listen after listen. Much like
The Pixies, the best pop band ever (in my
humble opinion), Possum Dixon's lyrics
fit the music, even when they don't make
a lot of sense. Anyone that can turn the
words "I saw them putting their hands
together,"]into a chant-along chorus scores
points with me.

his portrayal of this outsized, manner-
ism-enthralled character. By turns his-u
trionic, confessional, flirty and coy,
Hess was completely convincing as the
flamboyant homosexual in love with
Hollywood dreck. Although Hessmigl
have overdone the queenly poses, he
never crossed the line into outright gay
Alexander Alioto conveyed a great
emotional range as Valentin, in a per-
formance that was both passionate and"
commendably restrained at times. Di-
rector Karina Miller's casting of Hess
and Alioto was perfect, as Molina and
Valentin both emerged as fully drawn,
credible figures.
Miller created a surprisingly taut a0
mosphere for a play that consisted al-
most entirely of dialogue between the
two characters, and which in less ca-
pable hands could have made for quite'
a dull evening. During scene changes,
clips for the classic suspense thriller
"Cat People"played in the background,
setting an atmosphere of romantic, if
somewhat bizarre intrigue.
This story of the curious friendsh~
that develops between two odd-coup
prisoners - the theatrical window
dresser and the self-righteous revolu-
tionary - ensnared its audience in a
web of politics, sexual identities and
camp movies. This production of"Kiss
of the Spider Woman" was a powerful
dramatization of Manuel Puig's classic
story, and provided a gripping night of
entertainment for those who were lucky'
enough to catch it.
Continued from Page 11
would be pretty happy with is the chancy,
to quit their day jobs. About the band's
goals, Tolzdorf said, "My ethics have
certainly changed. I'm to a point where,
I'd like to make a living by making
music." Loncar chimed in, "We'd lik6
to move up another level, to be onI
bigger label like Matador, since they're
one of the biggest independent labels
out there. To be one of the bigger bands
on that scale, to support ourselves with
our music, is what we want."
That chance may be coming Viola;
Peacock's way soon. Loncar summed up
the band's plans for the near future: "The
new album is coming out in June or July
on Bedazzled Records. We'll probably
tour a lot then, through Michigan a*
Ohio and the East coast." If the finished
album is as exciting as the tracks they've
recorded so far, the music Viola Peacock
has supported for so long could finally'
end up supporting them.

The album stand-out and most obvi-
ous breakthrough single is
"Emergency's About To End."
Zabrecky sings "Your emergency's
about to end / Earlier this evening in
your bed," over a smooth mellotron line
that gives the song the perfect amount
of atmosphere without coming off as
overly cheesy. It's a perfect example of
Possum Dixon's mixture of the old and
the new into an original, distinct style.
Another stand-out is "Reds," the clos-
est thing on "Star Maps" that comes to an
all-out love song. It starts out with
Zabrecky's singing,"If 17 was my magic
number / I would give it to you in a box,"
overa slow acoustic-guitarpart that sounds
almost countryish. Almost. Just when
you think Possum Dixon's gone soft, the
drums kick in and the song turns into a
steady march. Zabrecky shouts, "And
then the drugs kick in / At the university
/ Where the fuck did I dream you up? /
Cause now I've got the reds," and we're
reminded that, true to form, nothing is as
it seems.
- Jeffrey Dinsmore

Remy Zero
Remy Zero

The tornado on the cover of Remy
Zero's self-titled album is appropriate:
In noisy, distortion-drenched gusts, the
band mixes folk-rock with the propul-
si ve force of Dinosaur Jr. and the beau-
tiful blasts of My Bloody Valentine.
"Temenos," "Remy Zero"'s opening
track, blends these elements with Beach
Boys-style harmonizing to boot. Remy
Zero achieves a good balance with songs
like "Descent" and "Shadowcasting,"
which careen between gentle acoustic
strumming and walls of shimmering
sound. And on tracks like "Twister" and
"Shadowcasting" Remy Zero proves that
it's as good at writing pop songs as they
are at stomping on their effects pedals.
With a sound that's both abrasive and
lulling, "Remy Zero"proves that dreamy
pop isn't just for wussies.
- Heather Phares

Mstthew Sweet looks pensive.

I 'I

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